ANAHEIM -- The fastball felt the same as the last one and all the others earlier in the night, but Max Scherzer's strikeout pitch to Chris Iannetta in the eighth inning Friday night was a first. On a pitch to Iannetta, his 98th of the game, Scherzer was clocked at 101 mph by the radar gun at Angel Stadium to mark the first time he believes he has ever hit triple digits.
"I didn't see it," the Tigers right-hander said. "Some guys came up during the game and told me I hit 101. I haven't been up there before. Even if the gun is plus one, it's still 100, so I'll take it."
Scherzer said he threw the pitch as hard as he could, which, he added, he does a lot of times and that it didn't feel any different from usual. Manager Jim Leyland couldn't remember whether he'd seen the pitcher throw that fast, but acknowledged that guns are different at every park.
Regardless, the skipper was more than impressed with the start and said he was really "letting it fly." Scherzer was taken out at the end of the inning after punching out nine Angels and throwing 110 pitches.
"He's not going back out in the ninth after he threw 101 mph in the eighth after throwing 105 or 110 pitches," Leyland said.
Scherzer paces himself throughout a game to make sure his velocity doesn't dip when his pitch count rises. That was clearly the case on Friday.
"I believe your last 15 pitches in a start, most of the time, define the start," he said. "Regardless of what happens, I really want to have my best bullets late. I focus on making sure I can throw my hardest pitch the last pitch of the game."
Raburn in lineup for first time since July
ANAHEIM -- Left fielder Ryan Raburn made his first start in more than a month Saturday against the Angels and lefty C.J. Wilson after missing all of August with a right thumb sprain.
Raburn pinch-hit for Ramon Santiago in the seventh inning during Friday's game and grounded out softly to the pitcher. It was his first plate appearance since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 1. A sore quad as soon as he was brought back kept him out of the lineup until now.
He has had success in the past, but this season has been a struggle and he came into the game batting only .171 with one homer and 12 RBIs in 199 at-bats. However, manager Jim Leyland is confident in Raburn's talent and he wants to get him a few at-bats against a lefty to prepare him for the three lefties they will face in Chicago next week.
"He's got an outstanding arm in the outfield," Leyland said. "He runs OK. He's got power. He can hit a three-run homer."
Also making their way into the Tigers starting lineup were Avisail Garcia in right field, making his third career start, and Danny Worth at second base. Garcia entered 4-for-8 so far in his young career.
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta is batting 1-for-16 with eight strikeouts against Wilson, which prompted Leyland's decision to rest the veteran regular and go with Worth.
"That's a mental rest, more so than a physical rest," Leyland said. "If you don't rest Jhonny Peralta tonight, you might as well not have these numbers. You might as well not have any information. You're in a pennant race, but that makes no difference to me."
Leyland: Dotel 'great' despite suffering defeat
ANAHEIM -- Despite Octavio Dotel giving up the winning run in the ninth inning against the Angels Friday night, Tigers manager Jim Leyland was impressed by the reliever's stuff.
The veteran had not allowed a run in his previous seven innings pitched and he had given up only five runs in 28 innings dating back to June 27. Dotel has not given up a run in 40 of his 50 outings this season, but against the Angels, a single by Kendrys Morales up the middle, a soft infield hit to third by Erick Aybar and a single by Alberto Callaspo through the left side earned Dotel his first loss since May.
"Octavio threw the ball great," Leyland said. "He got the little nubber and the guy came up with a hit that we didn't."
The righty was roughed up a couple times in May and June, but he was then lights out for the most part until Friday night.
Catcher Alex Avila said the hit by Callaspo with two outs ran back over the plate to allow the pinch-hitter to get good wood on the ball.
"I'm sure he'll probably want that one back, but it was still a pretty good pitch," Avila said.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.